Voting rights restored, injunction to be withdrawn
– FIFA / CONCACAF promise to monitor process to its completion
The diplomacy and respect exhibited by the previously warring factions, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) had many wondering at the Pegasus Hotel last evening why it took a FIFA / CONCACAF team to settle the disagreement between the two adversaries.
At the end of the media briefing that saw remarks from CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, FIFA Director of Member Associations and Development, Thierry Regenass, GFF President, Franklin Wilson and GFA President Vernon Burnett, a binding agreement was reached that will see the restoration of voting rights to the GFA, the withdrawal of the injunction in the civil court as filed by the GFA against the GFF and the reinstatement of the three clubs Western Tigers, Alpha United and Pele to the GFA with all membership rights.
It was also agreed that the GFA hold its Electoral Congress by January 19 with the three clubs having until January 16 to accept the reinstatement and make nominations for the GFA Electoral Congress, while the GFF was mandated to hold its Annual Ordinary Congress by April 15 at which elections for its Executive Committee will be held.
Webb, who was the first to speak, said that the day represented a rebirth and success story for football in Guyana, informing that they were able to meet with the two bodies, the Minister of Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, stakeholders, the national team, before arriving at a joint agreement that was accepted by both parties.
He spoke of the concerns raised by Wilson at the FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland last year pertaining to Guyana’s football and had promised to vist the country to mediate in the process and arrive at an amicable solution that will be honoured by both parties.
“We accomplished that today and both parties approached the Meeting with the eagerness to move Guyana’s football forward. Whenever there is a dispute there must be compromise and this situation existed since May 2011,” Webb stated.
Regenass, who in his remarks reminded all present that his emphasis is more on development agreed that it cannot occur if there are wranglings, and commended the two parties for reaching an amicable settlement for the good of the game.
He pointed to the outstanding performance of the national team during its World Cup campaign, adding that perhaps much more could have been achieved if there weren’t all those issues.
He closed by saying he would be happy to return once the process is implemented, especially to work with the FIFA Development Programme.
Wilson expressed profound gratitude on behalf of the GFF to FIFA for putting together such a high-powered team to mediate in the process.
“Today is a big day (yesterday) for football in Guyana, for charting a new course for the sport. The fact that we could sit together means it could only get better,” Wilson remarked.
According to him, they have to work as a team with the occasional bump along the way, but as long as they continue to work together, the success they wish could be achieved.
Burnett, in his presentation, welcomed the intervention of FIFA and CONCACAF in bringing resolution to an issue that should have been settled a long time ago.
“We believe we have arrived at an agreement that is comfortabke to both parties and will abide by all that we’ve agreed to until the end. We’ve both agreed that football development is a priority.”
Burnett congratulated the GFF for being open-minded and finding a solution.
“Our openmindedness was manifested today (yesterday) by the parties involved because we were able to come to an amicable solution within a few hours,” the GFA President mentioned.
Webb when asked whether the matter, which has reached the Courts of Guyana will see the parties being sanctioned, responded by saying that it had not reached the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and the reason for that is unknown, but they have agreed that no sanctions will be implemented.
He promised that FIFA / CONCACAF will work together to assist in the restoration of credibility in Guyana’s football, while they will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the agreed process is completed.